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How to hire good journalists: Understanding and navigating the new talent landscape

How to hire good journalists: Understanding and navigating the new talent landscape

Landing those ‘A players’ has always been a challenge for newsrooms, but it’s become even tougher in recent years.

Especially for smaller market stations always on the hunt for entry-level and early-career talent.

Students in J-schools are being lured away by careers in PR, corporate communications, marketing, and event planning. We find far fewer who are dedicated to pursuing a career in journalism within a local television station. And those who remain are flooded with options.

Each semester, Magid Talent Services profiles upcoming journalism graduates looking to enter the workforce. Of the more than 100 students featured in our spring 2018 edition of Fresh Faces, 83% have provided us with confirmation of job placement. Two-thirds report they’ve secured full-time work in a local TV newsroom. The vast majority received multiple job offers. And nearly half of them landed in a Top 100 market for their first gig out of school.

So, what can news managers do to get an edge in this narrow, candidate-driven market?

5 Strategies For Making A Good Hire

1. Get to know the Post-Millennial

Just when you feel like you finally have a better understanding of your Millennial employees, a new generation enters the fold. The birth years for Post-Millennials, also known as Gen Z, the Pluralist Generation or Plurals, started in the mid-1990s.Studio shot of a young businesswoman using a laptop while waiting in line against a gray background

They’re distinct from Millennials and understanding their goals and motivations is crucial to recruitment and retention. Their upbringing in a multi-cultural, pluralistic society plays a major role in their attitudes. Magid Generational Strategies research also reveals an important evolution of parenting styles in America. According to the research, Generation X, which is the primary parenting generation of Plurals, places a greater emphasis on individual performance.

Plurals are eager to start their careers, but more deliberate in selecting their first job. To better recruit Plurals, focus marketing strategies around community and quality of life, as well as your unique and tangible approach to individual opportunity and career advancement.

2. Commit to internal training and development

Really commit. Plurals will work hard to move up the ladder, but they need to see that it’s an essential component of your corporate culture. On-the-job and off-site training opportunities, regular performance reviews with goal-setting and upward mobility programs must be standard operating procedure.

3. Craft a unique, memorable elevator pitch

In a candidate-driven market, it’s on the employers to convince the prospective employee to choose you. What are the four or five best things your station and community have to offer? Make sure your whole team is on the same page and selling the same message. And don’t be afraid to get a little creative!

4. Go grassrootsLarge group of unrecognizable business people waiting for a job interview. Focus is on man with blue clipboard.

You must continue to feed your local talent pipeline and make sure you’re top of mind. Attend career fairs and volunteer to speak at area schools to begin making connections with the up-and-comers. If you’re not currently offering a paid internship program, really work to get it into your budget. If that’s not possible, open your door to job shadows. Getting young people in our newsrooms will get them excited about our profession and your station.

5. Act quickly

To quote a young journalist I recently spoke with, “You have to shoot when you have the shot.” When an A player comes along – or a B player with clear potential – don’t hesitate. Show the candidate that you want them, and you believe in them. Extend an offer immediately – or your competition will.

What challenges are you facing today?

We’re ready to deliver insights and move your organization forward.